From a young age Babino spoke both Spanish and English until she went to school. A boy in preschool made fun of her for speaking Spanish, and she took it to heart. For the next fifteen years, Babino lived a mostly monolingual life. She lost not only a language but a part of her identity. Thankfully, that was not the end of her bilingualism.
Recognizing the value and necessity of bilingual education, she pursued teaching full-time, even winning district teacher of the year in 2014. From high school seniors to kindergarten kids, she taught them all. But while teaching, she witnessed first-hand how bilingual, Latinx students and their teachers experienced gross inequities within school systems. She wondered how local school districts could enact change and searched for answers. So she earned her Ph.D. Now a professor at A&M-Commerce, Babino brings the beauty of bilingual education and critical pedagogies to the college classroom.
A Conversation with Dr. Babino
What makes you passionate about your discipline?
“Bilingual education is never just about language. Language education is always connected to people, culture, power, and history. As a second-generation Mexican American, I get to give to my students what I wish I had experienced as a student: a humanizing bilingual education that focuses on developing not only grade-level achievement, but also bilingualism, biliteracy and bicultural development.”
What would you tell a student who is thinking about attending A&M-Commerce?
“We know you have many choices when choosing a university. What makes A&M-Commerce unique is our prestige with a personal touch. That is when you choose our university you earn all the benefits of being associated with The Texas A&M University System. Many of our surrounding districts’ ears ‘perk up’ when seeing a teacher candidate who attended TAMUC, because of our stellar reputation. What’s more, our class sizes are smaller and our faculty and staff are able to take an interest in our students’ holistic success through one-on-one advising throughout the entire time while here.”
What do you like most about your career?
“Apart from being a mother, being a bilingual teacher has been the richest experience of my life. I literally cry tears of joy 3-5 times a day at work, because I know and experience in my entire being how much our work matters. We get to be an integral part of our students and their families realizing the American Dream. I get to recoger la cosecha que mis abuelitos y padres sembraron [reap the harvest that my grandparents and parents have sown]. So I feel like every act, every phone call, every email, lesson and grading of an assignment is an act in giving away what has been given to me. We get to be a bridge to the (complicated) American Dream every single day.”
- Ph.D., Literacy and Language Studies, University of North Texas, 2015
- M.Ed., Curriculum and Instruction, UNT, 2011
- B.A., Spanish and English Composition, UNT, 2006
- Assistant Professor, Texas A&M University-Commerce, Curriculum and Instruction, 2017-present
- Adjunct Professor, University of North Texas, 2015-2017
- Adjunct Professor, Dallas Baptist University, 2014-2017
- Advanced Academics Coordinator, Lewisville I.S.D., 2014-2016
- Gifted and Talented Facilitator, Lewisville I.S.D., 2011-2017
- Bilingual Fourth Grade Teacher, Lewisville I.S.D., 2008-2011
- Spanish Speech Teacher, Denton Calvary Academy, 2006-2008
Awards and Honors
- Outstanding Early Career Reviewer Award, Bilingual Research Journal, 2020
- Augustine “Chuck” Arize Junior Texas A&M University-Commerce, 2019
- Distinguished Global Fellow, TAMUC, 2018
- OpEd Writing Fellow, Write to Change the World Education Cohort, 2018
- Global Fellow, TAMUC, 2017
- Alatis Prize Nomination, The International Research Foundation for English Language Education, 2017
- Association for Literacy Educators and Researchers, 2017-present
- Literacy Research Association, 2015-present
- American Educational Research Association, 2014-present
- National Association for Bilingual Education, 2011-present